WAREHAM, Mass. – While most Cape Cod Baseball League teams' rosters are somewhat set for the following year by the end of each summer season, the league still likes to give some under-the-radar players a chance to land roster spots.
This year’s Cape Cod Baseball League Frank Finn Tryout was held Saturday, May 29, at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham. Tom Gay, general manager for the Gatemen, Sue Pina, assistant general manager for Cotuit, Cape League Commissioner Paul Galop and many others worked tirelessly to provide the rare opportunity for these athletes to showcase their talents.
Pina sends out roughly 200 letters to college teams across the country in March. Team managers then recommend players whom they feel can compete at the Cape League level. By the beginning of May, Pina compiles the rosters and gets in touch with the candidates who will attend.
This spring nearly 50 athletes came out to Wareham looking for a shot.
“You always need pitching, so I think that’s pretty much what a lot of the coaches are looking for,” said Pina. “If they don’t have an open slot for a position ... in the infield, they’re looking to fill either a catcher’s position or pitching.”
Along with position players, more than 20 pitchers came to the tryout looking to show their stuff. Each pitcher was allowed to throw 20 pitches, regardless of how many outs they made. Sometimes after tryouts, many players get signed. Just five had been signed as of this report.
Cotuit snapped up sidearm pitcher Ryan Grant and righty Alec Palioca from Wheaton College in Norton. Both will be seniors in the fall for the Lyons. Grant had a 2.05 ERA with 12 saves as the closer while Palioca went 6-1 in 10 starts with a 2.35 ERA.
The Kettleers also added some catching depth with the addition of EJ Martinez (Endicott), who hit .328 for Endicott with 36 RBIs in 44 games.
Cotuit wasn't the only Western Division team to sign players. Right-hander Kody Ortman (Auburn) signed a temporary contract with Wareham. Ortman hit .229 in his junior season with 11 hits in 48 at-bats for the Tigers.
The Falmouth Commodores picked up Duke University left-handed pitcher Garrett Hayward, a 6-foot-7 Rhode Island native who caught the attention of several teams at the tryouts.
“The hope is that you give an opportunity to an athlete who has the ability to play,” Pina said, “(someone) who for some reason was maybe overlooked or just didn’t get the opportunity to play ... to achieve their dream.”